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High Conflict Divorce Mediation


Summary:  High conflict cases can be successfully mediated. Mediations sessions can be held by telephone or through the use of separate sessions with each party.  The parties should understand the conflict process and the cost of the lack of agreement.


Overcoming High Emotional Upset

Settlement of the case should still be the norm even when one or both of the parties is very angry.

The natural tendency is to hire an aggressive attorney and begin filing motions for formal discovery, restricted parenting time, etc. Don't do that. Both parties will lose. Note that most people who end up at trial never get to express their feelings and needs.

Since Colorado is a no-fault state, no one will ever get revenge by going to court. Co-parenting opportunities can be lost. Stay away from judgments and blame.

Focus on moving on. Focus on long-term objectives and getting the case done.

Strong Disagreement

Strong disagreements are common. Each party should freely discuss their concerns and feelings, without interruption. Each of the issues should be taken one by one, to see which issues each party feels most strongest about and why. What is the most important issue for each party? Each issue should be examined for the amount of give and take each party is willing to accept.

Move beyond positions to interests and needs. Recognize and respect differences. Respond to the other's concerns.

Look for accuracy and precision of the facts, such as property valuation, parenting issues, etc.

Look for ways where both parties concerns can be met or at least minimized.

One of the facts which both parties must understand, is the cost of not reaching a mediated agreement.

Highlight Common Ground and Forward Movement

Keep any and all common objectives and common agreements in mind. Agreed issues show progress and common ground. They set a more positive tone and reduce the amount of separation between the parties. Most parties have more agreed issues than they realize, since it is natural for them to focus on the differences. It helps if the mediator will frame the issues in terms of mutual interest. It allows the parties to approach the difficult issues from a shared direction. From a direction of agreement and shared objectives.

Mental and Physical Abuse

In some cases a domestic violence proceeding may have to be brought. The abuser can be ordered to move out and stay away from the spouse and children. This includes a place of employment and schools.

However, once a divorce or legal separation petition is filed with the court, the standard restraining order is automatically in place. This standard order prohibits any mental or physical abuse, as well as the transfer of financial assets. In most cases, a domestic violence proceeding should not be necessary.

In a mediation or similar attempt to settle the case, the process can still go forward. However, separate sessions with each party may have to held. Telephone conferences can also be used.

GIF The material on this web site is for informational purposes only. This law firm practices only in Colorado. An attorney-client relationship is established only when an agreement as to the scope of representation and fees has been signed and a retainer paid. Colorado law may consider these web site materials to be attorney advertising. GIF
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